Analysts in South Korea believe President Lee’s surprise call for six-party talks will bring the parties to the table since China and North Korea have both been calling in recent weeks for resumption of talks.
Seoul, South Korea
South Korea promised a dramatic shift Wednesday in its approach to North Korea, holding out the olive branch of six-party talks on North Korea’s nuclear program along with the prospect of reconciliation and North-South reunification.
The chances of North Korea giving an enthusiastic response to these overtures were seen as virtually nil, but resumption of six-party talks suddenly became a distinct possibility after President Lee Myung-bak declared, “We have no choice but to resolve the problem of dismantling North Korea’s nuclear program diplomatically.”
President Lee’s remarks appeared to be the centerpiece of a carefully coordinated tactic in which South Korea's foreign and unification ministries issued statements urging a return to dialogue. Six-party talks, hosted by China, were last held in Beijing two years ago but were suspended after North Korea refused to return to the table – and then conducted its second underground nuclear explosion five months later in May 2009.
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